[Editor's Note] A Romney Runs Through Us

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JFP Editor Donna Ladd

Campaigning in Mississippi last week, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney set off a mini-firestorm in our offices. Sometime between joking about grits and forking up some hay, down-south style, Romney uttered words that made us nearly sputter in response: "If the federal government were run more like here in Mississippi, the whole country would be a lot better off." Say what, Gov. Romney?!

See, we JFP folks cover the state government, and we watch it very closely up here in the capital city. How can we say this nicely? It's a bona fide mess. We were so astounded that four of our staffers launched a round of Twitter satire using hashtag #runitlikeMississippi to make the point that this state is no model for running anything, much less the federal government (here are our favorites).

We love this city, and state, and want it to succeed. It is home for many of us, and some of our staff came here precisely because it's such an interesting place to live and work (and so much journalism left undone). We appreciate our state despite its shortcomings, and we work every day to try to make it better.

But to say--even while pandering for votes--that our state is a model of governance is flabbergasting and insulting to our citizens.

We have a Legislature spending much of our time trying to figure out unconstitutional legislation to limit the right to an abortion, despite the resounding message Mississippi voters sent last fall on the personhood fiasco. They are scheming to force underpaid police officers to pull over people who look like they might be undocumented immigrants (meaning: Latinos). They ignore the nonpartisan data that show that immigrants, even undocumented ones, actually help our economy.

Meantime, we are one of the poorest states in the nation with the resulting crime, and our education system is almost entirely divided between decent schools for the wealthy and continually weakening education for the poor and people of color (especially thanks to No Child Left Behind). Only 42 years after courts forced schools here to integrate, our public-school system is abysmally re-segregated. State lawmakers won't take seriously the need to ensure just "adequate" funding of public schools to help make up for the resulting inequities of our Jim Crow years. Instead, they want charter schools, but without enough serious consideration of how to do them well, and what to do with kids who get left out of them.

In other words, the (mostly) men running the state Legislature want to dictate from on high what's good for the rest of us, but without considering the benefit of context, historical lessons or the need to make sure our residents have a level playing field to give them a chance at success. They want to tell women what to do with our bodies, even if it puts our lives at risk. And they continue to push the kind of bigotry against "the other" in the anti-immigration bill that isn't exactly helping our state look like the kind of state where strong companies want to come in and set up shop. Diversity is important in the business world; why would companies subject their employees to a state whose leaders push or support stereotypes about "the other," or whose supporters are more likely than not to believe the president is a Muslim (which is meant as a slur)?

This is no way to run a state, or a country, Gov. Romney.

Jackson is especially hurt by state leadership and its aversion to (a) a majority-black capital city run by (b) an African American mayor who refuses to pander to them. Last year, Mayor Johnson nearly came to blows with then Gov. Haley Barbour and now-Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves to get them to honor bonds to help this city's severe water infrastructure problems. It was mortifying to watch the state leadership play a power game with the city where lawmakers make laws (and let's be honest, party) over something as basic as aging, crumbling water pipes. The victims of this power-dance were the local business and restaurant owners with empty cash registers and refrigerators full of food rotting when we couldn't flush our toilets for several days.

These are not model legislators.

Meantime, they introduce bills to require drug testing of Medicaid recipients (and prohibit them to have vanity license plates). They also do everything possible to enact expensive voter ID even without evidence of voter fraud it would stop. Oh, and the chairwoman of the Senate Tourism Committee was the keynote speaker for the white-supremacist Council of Conservative Citizens here in Jackson in 2009--not raising an eyebrow at the capitol.

Really, Mr. Romney: Are you positive you really want to run it like Mississippi?

Fortunately, we have many people of all races working to turn Mississippi around and change our reputation (granted, an uphill battle at times). Unfortunately, the folks you pandered to here tend to drown them out.

I was honored two weeks ago to be invited to the White House alongside two dozen diverse Jackson business leaders (ranging from Sen. John Horhn and Mayor Johnson to Derek Emerson of Walkers Drive-Inn and Monique Davis of Lumpkins Barbeque). Meeting with the White House Business Council to talk about what the Jackson business community needs, it was apparent that this was a different kind of group than most state leaders.

Yes, we talked about the loss of manufacturing jobs in the state and our under-educated work force, but the entire conversation (from both us and the White House team) was grounded in a context of our historical and current challenges as a city and as a state. For five hours, we discussed everything from what we could do about food deserts--entire poor neighborhoods with no access to good food--to the difficulty of educating kids (and thus a good work force) who are growing up in poverty and attending challenged schools.

This conversation was real, and it didn't focus on politics (one attendee brought up politics, and another steered the talk back on topic). It was about how we can and must strengthen the health and potential of our community at large and our local businesses--and about how the two are intertwined.

There was no denial in that room that day in Washington. And there was certainly no sense that Mississippi was being run in a way that is going to lift us off the bottom.

Gov. Romney, I urge you to find another way to run than by acting like you want to govern like our leaders. It's just a horrible idea.

Legacy Comments

I had an office next door to a business owned by an Asian family several years ago and gradually became friends with them. It turns out they escaped Vietnam back in the eighties and came to America with nothing floating on a door basically. They've worked really hard and watched their money and as it built up they used it to buy the freedom of relatives and bring them over. They were not the exception because thos same relatives started businesses and have prospered too. And they did it without government help or a sense of entitlement. You left Mississippi and came back to appoint yourself the champion of the black citizens and Jackson which is both run and occupied by the same. Seems condecending if not down right racist to me that you feel that way but that's another argument all together. Now Jackson is in shambles and of course you find the governor as the scapegoat because he's part of that mean white establishment that exists in all of our minds according to you. It doesn't matter that the city government is a circus of grandstanding and street naming, you won't touch that. My point is have you ever thought that the problems this state faces involve problems with personal responsibility and a sense of entitlement that's been handed down? Look at the neighborhoods. Do you really need a law passed that makes someone clean up their yard? That has nothing to do with employment or anything else yet somehow in your mind it's the evil white man. There are numerous grants available for minorities that choose instead to sell crack or be in a gang. Need a law for that? We have more black elected officials than any other state per capita, where are they? Is public school funding not handed out on an equal basis and if so do you not think before you speak of education for the wealthy (white) vs education for the poor "people of color"? If a community decides it wants safe schools with good teachers for their children and they are active in the decision making process are they to blame for the resulting good education their children recieve? If a community doesn't care and makes no effort is throwing money at them going to change that? My point which will be belittled and insulted is this. I am a white man who has lived in Mississippi my entire life. Not once have I ever thought about or acted in a way that was designed to hurt other peoples lives or chances in life. To you, I am evil simply because I am white and I worked hard to start a business with no help from anyone. Maybe it isn't all our fault Donna, maybe a little personal responsibility and pride in who you are would change everything about this state overnight. You've been beating that racism horse for years. I cannot make a black child study if they don't want to. Your view of this state is truely stuck in 1960's Neshoba County and you do more than anyone else in this state to keep that horrible past alive. You do all you can to continuously make the point that the black citizens are not responsible for their lives. That they have been dealt a bad hand and they should do what? Wait for the calvary to show up? Rewind the clock? I think there has been enough legislation passed and laws made to accomodate people and give them a helping hand. There are enough entitlements and enough government grants to help those who want to help themselves. I'm not sure what else you think is going to happen but I'm pretty sure it's nothing. I have a family to look out for and they are my priority. I pay my taxes and I hire according to qualifications. But I am so sick of being told that because I am white I am responsible for past crimes and present problems. There will be more blacks murdered this year in Jackson by other blacks than there were murdered during the entire civil rights era. Yeah I know, I'm a racist but oddly enough some Asian people I know don't seem to think so.

Alex03932012-03-14T14:00:00-06:00

Don't miss the staff's #RunitlikeMississippi list so far (and feel free to add your own):

DonnaLadd2012-03-15T11:47:50-06:00

"If the federal government were run more like here in Mississippi, the whole country would be a lot better off." Say what, Gov. Romney? We would all have bedsheets in our wardrobe ;/

Eric Anderson2012-03-15T13:55:15-06:00

OK, Alex, I'm a gonna have to take you to the woodshed for trying to tell *me* why I do anything. First of all, I have no idea what the Asian family has to do with your comments. So, you have Asian friends. Congratulations. So do I, and many people. Want a medal? (HInt: Don't start disturbing diatribes about race with a variation on the "some of my best friends are _____ saw." It never works.) What does "sense of entitlement" even mean? Who has a "sense of entitlement" here other than the people who want to tell other people which immigrants are OK ones, which people get to vote and how, what women can do with their bodies, who people can choose to marry, etc. etc. The whole use of "entitlement" by the radical right (and/or the actually "entitled") is one of the weirdest, saddest, most Orwellian memes out there right now. What kind of sick person calls the neediest people ENTITLED??? Do you seriously not know enough about our history not to argue that our neighborhoods are the way they are due to ENTITLEMENT!?! I don't even know how to begin to unwind the myth that someone has built up in your head that gets you to that place. So I will put it simply (and then possibly come back and unload more on you multiple times if the JFP Nation doesn't chime in and do it for me): The state of our neighborhoods are the direct result of many decades of people not being allowed a choice at equal opportunity. Right here in Jackson, banks redlined people of color out of the same loans that white people easily got due to their race -- through the 1980s. No, that wasn't a typo. The psychological condition that we have to fight together to overcome in African American communities resulted from what white people did, Alex (and in too many cases, still try to do; see anti-immigration legislation). And did for years. And still do every time somebody starts going on about "thugs" and acting like all black people in certain neighborhoods are violent or irresponsible or whatever. Or every time the media choose only show faces of color in negative stories (or the stereotypical crime or music coverage). (And I'm not even going to try to explain the psychological result of white supremacy that makes someone like you so defensive and willing to pit yourself against the needist of society.) White supremacy was a system of keeping people down: thus the meaning of the word racISM as opposed to bigotry. That in no way justifies someone selling crack, or certainly for committing violence (they should go to jail and not be pardoned early by Barbour), but the fact that white folks put the crack there in the first place in neighborhoods where people had been beaten down by the system does EXPLAIN it -- and show the work we all have to do if we want to change it (instead of your facile finger-pointing and crazy-stupid "entitlement" rhetoric). You know who came up with this use of "entitlement," right? The people who don't want the playing field leveled because they believe it benefits them economically; then they get people like you to spread it for them as if it makes a lick of sense. OK, then you come out with this piece of brilliance: You left Mississippi and came back to appoint yourself the champion of the black citizens and Jackson which is both run and occupied by the same. I have not appointed myself anything, Alex. I came back to the state where I was born and raised (among racists and white people too afraid to speak up about it and people of color who didn't have the same opportunities as even my poor, white-trash family.) My partner and I have scraped pennies together to build a growing business and newspaper that hires people of diverse backgrounds and does not leave people out as so many other publications (black and white) do. I am also willing to speak out against problems and obvious bigotry for myself and to do my part to help my entire state, which includes people of many races. How someone translates that into annointing myself a champion of black people is beyond me; I know a few black people in Mississippi, and I don't know a one of them who is going to let me or anyone else annoint champions for them. With any luck, I've earned some respect from them, as well as whites and other races, because I and people around me don't just line up like dumb, deaf and blind followers behind the demagogues who try to fool us into thinking that "entitled" people of color are out to get us and what we earn in order that we will vote for them in order that they can do what the corporate funders want. We know we all sink or swim together, and that we all pay the price for inequality and bigotry (in crime, among other ways). On the other hand, I know more than a handful of African Americans who hate my guts, precisely because I've been willing to call out their corruption or their support of corrupt leaders. But that's my job, and I don't care what race, or party, or whatever someone is. They don't get a pass. I am a white man who has lived in Mississippi my entire life. Not once have I ever thought about or acted in a way that was designed to hurt other peoples lives or chances in life. Actually, you just did. And you do every single time you use the word "entitlement" for a euphemism for black people you think want your money. But I am so sick of being told that because I am white I am responsible for past crimes and present problems. Who said YOU personally are responsible for anything? I know plenty of white men who have the brains and compassion to know that white supremacy has made things bad for all of us, regardless of race, but who know they themselves didn't go on a night ride or slap a child away from a water fountain. Why not try studying and understanding the history rather than sound like a naive white man going around spouting that poor people just feel entitled? You're controlling how you sound here, and it's not pretty. Don't blame me for it. There will be more blacks murdered this year in Jackson by other blacks than there were murdered during the entire civil rights era. And why do you think that is?! I love to ask white people who say they're not racist-but-what-about-all-the-blacks-killing-blacks this question. If you say it's because they're black, then you're a textbook racist. So WHY do we have problems with crime in some black neighborhoods if it not because they're black? Does it have to do with poverty? Yes. This is fact (even though many racists dispute it.) Then: why are these neighborhoods poor? Because they're entitled? No, because of long-time efforts to keep them that way (as in redlining, job discrimination, education inequity, etc.) by the entitled. Why have there been long-term efforts to keep it that way? Yes, because of racism. But WHY do some whites act in those ways? It's usually economic (if not outright hatefulness). Starting with slavery, white supremacists have de-humanized people of color and treated them horribly and fought a Civil War due to economic justification of slavery. They did that because they believed they were entitled to the land under them and the wealth created by the use of slaves and later subjugation of African Americans who, should they get equality, might start treating them the same way back. (Now, their descendants are still trying to keep too many from voting; see all the voter ID regulation without actual justification.) That, my friend, is a much more precise definition of "entitlement." And a whole lot less Orwellian.

DonnaLadd2012-03-15T13:57:46-06:00

SNAP! What ya got now Alex0393?

Jacob Fuller2012-03-15T14:30:22-06:00

And I got that SNAP before I went back, cleaned up the typos and added the Barbour pardon snark. ;-)

DonnaLadd2012-03-15T14:37:41-06:00

Alex said: "I am white and I worked hard to start a business with no help from anyone. ... I think there has been enough legislation passed and laws made to accomodate people and give them a helping hand. There are enough entitlements and enough government grants to help those who want to help themselves." How would you know, Mr. No-Help-from-Anyone? And: "There will be more blacks murdered this year in Jackson by other blacks than there were murdered during the entire civil rights era." I'm going to have to question that math.

Tim Kynerd2012-03-15T19:26:32-06:00

Yes, Alex, please enlighten us and tell us how many blacks were murdered in the civil rights era?

golden eagle2012-03-15T21:30:47-06:00

Alex, your position seems to be that some people are obsessed with race, but you are color blind. Also, black people are lazy and devious. But you see, that's a cultural thing. You said: Do you really need a law passed that makes someone clean up their yard? That has nothing to do with employment or anything else yet somehow in your mind it's the evil white man. There are numerous grants available for minorities that choose instead to sell crack or be in a gang. Need a law for that?

Brian C Johnson2012-03-15T22:59:48-06:00

Donna, I personally think it’s absurd that you speak of a woman’s “right to an abortion” without considering the child’s right to life. The left is very insistent about health issues being a right of the individual when it comes to abortions and then in the next breath they say that they want government run healthcare. Pick one. Also your immigration argument is ridiculous. First of all you are implying that the Republican Party is promoting racial profiling. “They are scheming to force underpaid police officers to pull over people who look like they might be undocumented immigrants (meaning: Latinos).” Everyone breaks a traffic violation every now and then. During usual traffic enforcement, if a police officer discovers that the violator is an illegal alien, then they should be detained. Why should immigration be the only law in the country reserved to the feds? We have DEA and local police still enforce narcotics. We have ATF and local police still enforce weapons violations. Illegal immigration affects Mississippi just as much as the rest of the country and if the federal government won’t enforce it, we should. Oh, and Voter ID, I really don’t care if there is evidence or not of voter fraud. There is huge potential for fraud and this one is just common sense. Why in the world would you not be required to prove who you are in order to vote? I can get a name and an address off a piece of junk mail. The argument that the poor are being discriminated against doesn’t hold any water either. Did you know that you are required to show ID in order to receive government assistance? No one’s complaining about that and the poor are still getting their government assistance. Mississippi is last in several things but under the current administration Mississippi will make a good run at doing something desperately needed throughout the whole country, putting morals first.

Jimmie2012-03-16T04:13:40-06:00

I am glad Alex replied the way he replied. It is his honest perspective that needs to be examined and studied by progressives and leaders in this state to understand how the policies and perspectives serve to keep Mississippi locked into a cycle of segregation and missed opportunities. Sure, it is easy to blast every point that he tries to make, but the more important take away is that somehow, we as a community have to figure out how to move forward knowing that many in the economic and political leadership in this state feel the way Alex does. Alex has a perspective that is ill-informed by history, not sensitive to the humanity of “the other”, and is myopic to the point where he doesn’t see the connectedness (economic, social, political) of people who live in community. If these aspects of his perspectives are the heart of why he feels that way, then the seeds of these issues must be addressed in our communities if we hope to help people like Alex see the world and their place in it differently. If Alex’s perspective is a-historical, then we have to consider how to inform people like him with history. It is not just a history class in school that could do this (though that will be a wonderful place to start), but it also has to be a disposition developed within people to cherish learning from history and thinking critically about history so as to learn from it and inform policies and perspectives today. This has to be modeled by leadership in our institutions that impart “culture”-schools, churches and media. Also, since his perspective is not sensitive to “the other”, than a critical examination of human nature and human development must be stressed. In MS, most people seem to really gravitate toward churches. Religious leaders seem to have a lot of sway culturally. What is being taught in these religious institutions about “the other”? Is it exclusivity and demonization of the “other” ( e.g., is the only thing a Christian sees in a non-Christian is the non-Christian’s need to get “saved”? How does this get played out in community?) Or is it the common humanity of the “other”? Too often, it is the former. We should hold religious leaders more accountable to the tenets of various faith traditions that call for us to consider the humanity of “the other” as a central value. Also, he seems to think people can gain economically in isolation and doesn’t see the connection between consumers, producers, and government regulation. There is no one in legitimate business who has not had to come to the government for either licensing, bonding, or sometimes help in terms of startup capital and protection of assets and investments. Every business needs customers. Customers need resources to purchase goods and services. It would behoove every business person to want more people to have better access to economic opportunities and to understand how human capital is developed communally through education and access to other opportunities. To assume that anyone gains economic opportunity without help is a sure sign of ignorance or arrogance. So, Alex, while he may never enter into a dialog about these issues with progressives, has informed us on what areas we need to work in for change and growth. Let’s take advantage of these all too few opportunities where 21st century racist… or conservatives actual share the sources of their views honestly with progressives.

Renaldo Bryant2012-03-16T08:16:37-06:00

First of all you are implying that the Republican Party is promoting racial profiling. That's the way I see it. They're the ones who're pushing these anti-immigration laws. Let's face it: if you suspect someone is an illegal immigrant, the first person you'll think of is an Hispanic person. If that isn't textbook profiling, I don't know what is.

golden eagle2012-03-16T09:01:52-06:00

Jimmie--When there is a "child", as in its been expelled from a woman's body, than that "child" has a right to life. We are not killing children here. If you think anyone is killing children, you should probably report that to the police. And if you think laws are needed where there is only the "potential" of fraud, then I'm pretty sure that puts you FAR TO THE LEFT of almost everyone that I know. Including Obama. Government run healthcare (or single payer system) and having a right to an abortion are not parallels--at all. One involves a constitutional RIGHT that is protected and has been upheld by SCOTUS. Don't go throwing Roe around like its "contraversial". Its been around since before I was born. My generation looks to it as a sacred law. This is NOT something that will be overturned.

Lori G2012-03-16T09:37:06-06:00

Jimmie, I think it is absurd that you don't believe a new baby has the right to be wanted. Beyond that, do you think abortion should be illegal for rape victims and women who will likely die giving birth? Do you believe that men who pay for abortions should go to prison if it is made illegal? That would obviously have to happen. As for the immigration law, are you really not getting that it will depend on profiling in order to enforce? Unless, that is, you believe the governments should make the police check all of our citizenship papers every time we're pulled over or such. Otherwise, they will choose the ones they "think" might be "illegal" to check and "discover." And guess how they will do that? This legislation, if not enforced in an overtly discriminatory way, violates all of our rights and over-burdens police departments financially and otherwise. Besides, you skipped over the facts that these "illegal aliens" you're so worried about actually contribute to our economy. If you didn't have questionable motives here, why would you skip that part? Why, exactly, Jimmie, do YOU want "illegal" immigrants deported? Re voter ID, y'all keep skipping over the fact that there is no evidence of voter fraud this expensive regulation would stop. So you want it "if" voter fraud happens. Let's try an analogy here: We have evidence already that people have guns legally who then use to harm and kill people (especially in domestic situations). If the constitutional standard now for regulation is because something "might" happen, then we need to require immediate gun registration of every gun in America -- and perhaps even outlaw them because what does the Constitution matter if something bad might happen. Right? That's your logic, remember. "putting morals first"??? There is no evidence that the majority of the Mississippi Legislature is trying to do that, nor have you posted anything that indicates that you are, either. You seem to want to return us to the 1960s on all points. No thanks.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T10:12:10-06:00

Otherwise, all, I'm embarrassed that I let this zinger by Alex go by without examination of his so-called facts; thanks for calling him out on it: "There will be more blacks murdered this year in Jackson by other blacks than there were murdered during the entire civil rights era." OK, Alex. First of all, you are predicting how many "blacks" will be murdered this year in Jackson. None of us know that. Secondly, it is a questionable statement, regardless. I will have to do a little extra homework to come up with solid numbers for you on how many blacks were murdered in Jackson during the "Civil Rights Movement" (and not just beaten, maimed or put in the Fairground livestock pens in 100-degree weather for marching for their rights), but I can tell you that it will surprise you whether you define Civil Rights Movement narrowly (post-Montgomery bus boycott, say) or more widely. Many people call everything in our past before forced integration the CRM, so that one would really get you in trouble. I will give you some perspective now, though, on white-on-black murders, or lynchings, in our state in the 20th century: Mississippi was by no means the only state with widespread lynchings, but we had the most. Please remember that lynchings are a specific thing as well: done with knowledge, consent or assistance of officialdom -- as in government law enforcement. Most of the victims were black men, and lynchings were used to send a message to "uppity" black men who stepped out of line (like demanding the pay they were promised or trying to register to vote), and were often done with the excuse of protecting the virtue of white men (which was ironic considering how widespread white-on-black rape was for much of our history). Lynchings were often local events with white men, women and children dressing up and turning out for them, laughing and pointing at men hanging limp in trees, sometimes with their testicles stuffed in their mouths to really prove the point. White folks liked to take the photos and turn them into postcards to send to their friends. You need to see the inscriptions to believe it. You can see a variety of the photographs here. I warn you that this is very graphic. More lynching info here. And much more out there. Lynching got so bad in the south as a way of enforcing Jim Crow (and entertaining white folks) that the federal government tried to pass a federal lynching law to no avail. A few years back, the U.S. Congress passed a symbolic resolution apologizing for not doing more to stop lynching, but none of our folks in Congress would sign on, except Bennie Thompson. Not even Thad Cochran. As you might imagine, lynching took a horrible toll on the black community; it was a form of government-sanctioned terrorism to keep them in their places and to de-humanize them, especially young men. I wrote this column about the lynching exhibit (of the above photographs) that I helped bring to Jackson State a few years back: Rest In Peace.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T10:29:57-06:00

Now, the point of this is not to say that you are responsible, Alex, or even your grandparents (although they coulda been). It is to say that white supremacy, by design, developed a system of haves and have-nots in a very deliberate fashion. It was meant to de-humanize and criminalize a race of people (first as free labor as slaves and, later, as almost-free labor as unskilled workers, not to mention to keep them from gaining political power and, somehow, taking away the fruits of all that earlier free labor). Even worse, white supremacy broke up what was a very strong black family unit, starting with slavery, continuing through Jim Crow years and now with the Drug War (thanks to all those drugs imported into the communities. You add voter-ID laws on top of that now and the net benefit to the old guard (and their offspring and wealth inheritors) is that the same people continue to be disenfranchised. Put another way, our ancestors taught each other that it was OK to be violent to black people and, as a result, they helped break up families and turn generations of young men, living in poverty as a result of the discrimination, into criminals. If you're serious about stopping the crime, as I am, you must study and understand this. Simply incarcerating people without understanding and attacking the conditions that got them there will only continue the cycle. Same with "teenage pregnancy." If you don't want it to happen and thus created all those "entitled" hungry people you love to bash, then we need to actually do something to stop it. Now, some of you boys seem to think that means wagging your finger at "teen mothers" (but much less often at "teen fathers"; Google the two phrases. Many of you are against sex education -- for reasons that completely befuddle me -- as well as abortion, and now apparently BIRTH CONTROL in general, and then want to turn around and not feed or school the children that all the "single mothers" have. It's almost as if folks want to have a whole group of people you refuse to help, hoping that they will reproduce the criminals you can fill the (private) prisons with and then not allow to vote. If not, why do you refuse to look at causes and, thus, solutions? And why do you take it all so personally if it's not your fault or responsibility? It sucks, but it is all of our responsibility. We are all hurt by this history (even the people enriched by it who become bitter and selfish and ashamed and closed-minded). We can choose a different way, though: We can learn our history, and we can use it to form a different history for our state and each other. We can stop the selfishness and the beliefs that helping others somehow hurts us when, in fact, it is abundance that creates abundance, and always has been (a clear biblical teaching, by the way). We can learn to really love others and feel compassion. Folks like you frustrate me no end, but I have compassion for your pain. You were taught to believe that others are out to get you and your stuff/money, and you have to teach yourself to think differently if you want to lose the bitterness and share the amazing love and friendship that comes with reaching out across the divides. I urge you to try it. God bless.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T10:43:33-06:00

A rockin' post, Renaldo. Seriously. And I agree with you that it is good that Alex posted. It's people with hidden attitudes such as these who are our most formidable challenges. They walk around claiming to have friends of many races while supporting policies that hurt everyone but themselves. Let's use this, as you suggest.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T12:14:49-06:00

Wow, let’s kill a baby because it isn’t “wanted”. Would you rather be dealt a bad hand or no hand at all? I was dealt a bad hand early in life but was able to overcome this and make something out of myself. And yes, if there is a living thing inside of you with a heartbeat its murder. No matter what man decides should be the punishment for this you and them will have to stand before your creator and explain why these most vulnerable lives weren’t worth protecting. Immigration absolutely does not depend on profiling to enforce. I’m a police officer. If I pull you over Donna and you do not have identification, you cannot provide me with a valid name and social (which every police department in the nation can run on the FBI NCIC database); and you don’t speak English (or at least very well), I have probable cause to believe that you are in this country illegally (by the way, I appreciate that you believe that should get a pay raise). I see hundreds of illegals eating up our healthcare without contributing to the tax with the exception of sales tax but it’s not enough. We are having a hard enough time caring for the poor we already have, when is enough, enough. I’m not even going to argue voter ID any further, like I said this one is common sense. Vote Democrat, Vote twice!!!!

Jimmie2012-03-16T12:19:20-06:00

Case in point. I believe this dude who just sent this to me and about every media outlet and elected official in the country is a Northside Sun columnist. I've XXXed out his street address. Verbatim: Media, Senators, Representatives, Governors, Government Officials, Attorneys, Judges and all USA Citizens: With the implementation of H. R. 3200...the USA is officially the United Socialist States of America, and it is your fault, traitorously allowing COMPLETE GOVERNMENT CONTROL OF OUR LIVES! ---Thanks to Obama, Reid, Pelosi, DEMONcRATS, GOP "RINOs & You, ALL of current electedofficials need to be voted out of office!!!" All of our personal information will be on our implanted National Medical Device (microchip), including financial...even our Bank Account access numbers. Welcome to the United Socialist States of America if "Obamacare" is not repealed in its entirety http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/H.R._3200/Division_C/Title_V/Subtitle_C "OBAMACARE" IS NO "HEALTHCARE BILL!" H. R. 3200 is a package of purely Social Legislation, regulating and governing every little corner of our lives. All of our personal Liberty, Freedom and Free Choices are eliminated buy this anti-USA Legislation monstrosity...and you have not even bothered to read it. Very irresponsible. READ THE DASTARDLY DEMONcRATS SOCIALIST BILL! TRUTHFULLY REPORT THE HIDDEN DETAILS IN IT! And then HELP US TO COMPLETELY REPEAL IT IN ITS ENTIRETY! Thx, R. T. DAN HANCHEY Xxxxxxx Madison, MS 39110 And in case you're wondering about this patriot's booger-bear implant, here is what SNOPES has to say about it: http://www.snopes.com/politics/medical/microchip.asp

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T12:22:08-06:00

Oh, and I bet this Hanchey dude supports voter ID. Maybe we can just use the implant at the polls; they can scan our noses or something to make sure we're who we say we are ... and not an "alien." *sarcasm off*

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T12:29:11-06:00

I was gonna respond directly to Alex, but after reading your response Donna, I didn’t see the need. Excellent use of historical analysis to assess the root causes of the contemporary problems we share here in MS. I wish many more political and economic leaders around the state understood the history of this state and how it characterizes the present state of affairs and can help us chart a better future for more Mississippians, rather than ignore history and promote the status quo while espousing “moral values” and “personal responsibility” as the main causes of our problems. People are social beings, living and making choices in varied social contexts. This doesn’t take away from anyone’s personal responsibility to do the “right thing”. But it does inform us better as to workable solutions for our problems. You are right about people having these views and yet claim to have friends of all classes and races. I see it so much on my job (I work in education policy). The most frustrating thing is that most people who make policy choices concerning education in MS mean well and have a heart for children, but are woefully ill-informed by a lack of critical analysis and historical understanding when it comes to decisions being made about policy and practices to aid the communities struggling the most when it comes to education. This is because in many cases, they hold these views about poor people that tend to blame them for their situation (Ruby Payne’s work on the “culture of poverty” comes to mind). I have heard it said on more than one occasion that most of these communities’ adults simply don’t care about their children therefore they don’t need any more money for their schools, because they won’t use it right anyway. It is no accident that MAEP has not been fully funded over the years. Since this sentiment is driving those decisions, we must work harder to talk more about poverty and its true causes and effects. Poor people simply don’t just choose to be poor. Poverty constrains choices and limits human development in a variety of areas. More people in MS need to understand that if we ever want to move off of the bottom of so many socio-economic lists.

Renaldo Bryant2012-03-16T12:39:06-06:00

I'm not talking about "killing babies" because they're not wanted, Jimmie. Don't be dense. But let's talk about actual children who have been born since that seems to be your primary concern. What is your plan for helping single mothers, or poor couples, raise their children, feed them, school them? How do you plan to pay for the welfare and other public assistance that your strategy would increase in our nation? Who will pay for building more prisons? Who is going to build the housing needed? Should we raise the minimum wage to pay for the third or fourth unexpected child (especially if birth control isn't readily available)? Tell us about the sex education program you support and how we're going to ensure that we get birth control to everyone before they have sex. As for the anti-immigrant laws, you might ought to read them a little closer and talk to all the law enforcement folks who want no part of them. Oh, and you realize cities and the state will need to increase your taxes to enforce them, right? Not to mention, make up for the lost economic benefit that even undocumented workers bring us? Ready to pay up? Get out your checkbook. And, no, voter ID is most certainly not common sense any more than demanding African Americans to take "literacy" tests ("How many bubbles are in a bar of soap?") or pay poll taxes to vote. Unneeded regulation done just because Republicans believe it will cut down on people voting against them is the exact opposite of common sense, and barriers to voting is un-American if you cannot prove it's needed. Bring the proof, or shut up about it.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T12:44:17-06:00

Thanks, Renaldo. As you know, the excuse that "some of my best friends are black" dates back slap into slavery and Jim Crow. It was a common excuse by white supremacists that their slaves/servants "loved" them and needed them. A twisted paternalism toward blacks (that involved raping black women, scarily) pervaded our horrifying past well into the 1960s. An excellent book about white attitudes, including actual shock that African Americans didn't love them or the oppression, is "There Goes My Everything," by Jason Sokol: http://www.amazon.com/There-Goes-Everything-Southerners-1945-1975/dp/0307263568 I wish every white southerner would read it. Of course, in today's sick anti-immigrant pogrom in the U.S., there is no paternalism. It's just outright, mis-informed hatred (and fear of not being the majority anymore). The good news is that we are in the middle of the dismantling of white supremacy. The bad news is that the people who don't want it to the end are going to fight tooth and nail. Voter ID and the anti-immigrant laws are just two efforts to hold on to something that ain't there anymore. Thankfully. I believe the future will be brighter for all of us, together, but we've got to work to get us there.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T12:50:40-06:00

How about we avoid the issues by bringing up ten more. You just outlined why we don’t need more illegal immigrants in this country. Schools, prisons, housing, poverty, let’s take care of the lower class of Americans before we take care of someone else’s citizens. Illegal immigrants come to America strait into the lower class. By catering to illegals you are telling the poor American that they are less important. If I can’t feed my own children, why would I take in someone else’s? And I’m not being dense. You said “I think it is absurd that you don't believe a new baby has the right to be wanted” as a justification for abortion. That's your logic, remember.

Jimmie2012-03-16T12:58:40-06:00

Isn't if fabulous that the same people who rail about "personal responsibility" for less-fortunate American citizens are also for making the lives of "personally responsible" immigrants more difficult simply because they come from the "wrong" country or have the "wrong" educational background as defined by a government quota system? #sorryrandomthoughtcarryonwithyourday

Todd Stauffer2012-03-16T13:03:04-06:00

Jimmie, I was countering your "absurd" statement to make a point. The point is that this issue is much more complex than you and others make it. I'm guessing from your remarks that you have no intention of paying to help these children once they're actually born; congratulations on all the pre-birth compassion, but somehow I'm not impressed. And your "lower class of Americans" is just a creepy statement. As for what immigrants cost us, you refuse to even engage in the facts that undocumented immigrants help our economy. Logically, that is a very different discussion than what an already-poor woman has to do to pay for her fourth child that she can't afford to feed. I do not believe we should just have open borders. But that is a long, long way from the ill-conceived, nasty, profiling-of-Americans legislation those yo-yos in the Legislature are trying to bring on Mississippi. And that legislation is going to hurt our economy -- and mean that you have to pay more taxes. The fact that you don't even want to talk about the various angles on this kinda make it sound like you just want the Latinos gone. If not, then why not talk about the big picture and the actual financial facts? And the word "illegals" is not accurate and is not interchangeable with "undocumented." That just fact. Do you care about facts? Or is this all anti-those-people emotion coming from you? What's this *really* about, Jimmie? Take a hard look in the mirror.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T13:32:15-06:00

Oh, and I want to reduce abortion, too. That's why I believe in actually doing things that will reduce—from improving public education to real sex education to empowering young women to not feel like the end-all of their existence is doing what a guy wants them to do (including have sex, or sex without condoms). And considering that many women who have abortions are married and can't afford children, or more children, we have to do something about work-force training and development, and stimulating more jobs. We also must ensure that birth control is cheap and available to anyone who wants it. We all must put at least as much attention on "teen fathers" as "teen mothers" -- and stop the dumbass "boys will be boys" excuses for men and boys who make women into sexual toys and believe that women "ask for" rape. You want to lower abortion rates *and* get people off public assistance? Start with education, including real sex education and stop the dumb act that young people aren't going to think about sex if someone doesn't tell them about it in sex-ed. Sheer lunacy.

DonnaLadd2012-03-16T13:37:01-06:00

I already explained to you how the enforcement goes. This is what police have to do to EVERYONE they pull over and it doesn’t cost anything to run an NCIC check. You choose to ignore that fact. There is no doubt in my mind that you are getting your facts from a liberal source that can lean them anyway they wish just as Obama chooses to do with the unemployment rates in an election year. And I don’t have a problem paying for poor Americans and helping them get on their feet not just getting them dependent on government programs. That’s why we don’t need to support other countries citizens as well. By the way you are the one that’s been putting race in the mix. I don’t just want Latinos gone but that seems to be the last resort strategy for democrats that can’t make their point, RACE CARD!!! If you believe that you should be required to prove who you are in order to vote, RACIST. If you believe that we should have secure borders or that we should take care of our own poor before taking in someone else’s, RACIST. If you think Obama is a horrible president because he has acquired more debt than every other US president combined, RACIST. Last but not least, if you want to protect the rights of the unborn, now those evil conservatives hate women. Also, you might want to find a new profession. The shut-up and dumbass comments are a little unprofessional for a so called editor and chief. If you can’t take a little criticism or an opposing point of view, you might want to think about that beforehand.

Jimmie2012-03-16T14:04:58-06:00

I think Donna has handled everything beautifully - as usual. I guess I can just say, "I agree with Donna!" ... and Don't Vote Republican

BobbyKearan2012-03-16T17:52:50-06:00

Oh, and I want to reduce abortion, too. That's why I believe in actually doing things that will reduce—from improving public education to real sex education to empowering young women to not feel like the end-all of their existence is doing what a guy wants them to do (including have sex, or sex without condoms). THIS. A HUNDRED TIMES THIS. These are the reasons Western Europe has low incidences of both abortion and teenage pregnancy.

Tim Kynerd2012-03-16T17:53:48-06:00

I love it when people hold up states like Mississippi or Alabama as examples of fiscal responsibility. Romney doesn't seem to understand that for every $1 Mississippi contributes to the federal coffers, it receives $2 in return. Mississippi is a welfare state through & through - god forbid the federal government actually become "more like Mississippi" - I don't know that I could take such self-righteous hypocrisy on a national level.

SalPairodice2012-03-17T12:15:03-06:00

I think Alex (and many, many others) have a case of "white privilege". He could enlighten himself a little by reading up on it: http://www.amptoons.com/blog/files/mcintosh.html

Dan Halen 5112012-03-17T16:38:08-06:00

I already explained to you how the enforcement goes. This is what police have to do to EVERYONE they pull over and it doesn’t cost anything to run an NCIC check. You choose to ignore that fact. Now wait, Jimmie. NOW you're saying police have to check the immigration status of *everyone* they pull over? Were that the case, would this not disturb you? What the law, as it stands now, actually says is something much more vague: For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of this state or a law enforcement official or a law enforcement agency of a political subdivision of this state in the enforcement of any other law or ordinance of a county, municipality or the state where reasonable suspicion exists that the person is an alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable, to determine the immigration status of the person, except if the determination may hinder or obstruct an investigation. My emphasis added to "reasonable suspicion." That phrase appears one time in the bill. So we're back to exactly what concerns me (and many courts). How do you have "reasonable suspicion" that someone is undocumented? You (probably) know how the law works: there is gonna have to be a test of some sort. If it cannot have anything to do with how someone looks, especially the fact that they are Latino or darker skinned, then how will officers know when to check? And what if a cop has so-called "reasonable suspicion" that someone is "illegal" who isn't? If someone is documented, like say you or me, then do we have to carry papers around to prove that in order not to be detained and investigated? Guess whose rights get violated when they are detained because they don't have their papers on them? Can you really not see that these kinds of laws are regulating the "legal" perhaps even more so than the "illegals"? These laws are extremely flawed.

DonnaLadd2012-03-19T09:38:45-06:00

As for your ad hominem comments about me, Jimmie: Can you really not respond to the individual issues without resorting to just screaming that someone is playing the RACE CARD on your poor little self?! Jimmie, I hate to tell you, but sometimes it is about race, and sometimes it is about sexism. You may not have noticed, or care, that women are being attacked by your apparent wing of the Republican Party in many, many ways beyond just abortion rights. We are called sluts, c*nts, prostitutes, etc., by men I'm guessing you admire because we dare disagree and try to stand up for women's rights and health. Meantime, you're worried about me using "dumbass" -- so I looked back up there to see where I used it (it is a favorite term,I admit). And found this: We all must put at least as much attention on "teen fathers" as "teen mothers" -- and stop the dumbass "boys will be boys" excuses for men and boys who make women into sexual toys and believe that women "ask for" rape. So, YOU don't think the "boys will be boys" excuse for rape, misogyny, etc., is "DUMBASS"? Then fine, but I really have no apology for that one, friend. And my reference to "shut up," as in "bring the proof or shut up about it," came in response to your repeated ignoring of the fact that there isn't evidence to prove that your desired over-regulation of voting rights would actually stop any kind of voter fraud. Why does that matter? Because it proves that there are ulterior motives to voter ID -- that probably have to do with the folks you admire hoping it will actually keep some of those Democrats who seem to despise from turning out to vote against them. If that isn't it, and there is no evidence that it will stop the actual voter fraud that happens, then why the heck do you and yours want such expensive, needless regulation, being that y'all are supposed to be so conservative and against needless,costly regulation? What are we missing here? Like I said above, "Bring the proof or shut up about it." As for me being an editor and challenging you to provide evidence that your costly regulatory schemes are needed, or calling sexist obsession with teen mothers over teen fathers "dumbass," then you're going to have to get over yourself or just live with it. I am in the business of evidence-gathering and then writing about what I find. My work, and my opinions, are evidence-based. So if you're going to disagree with me effectively (and some do), then bring new or actual evidence and stop all the whining about me using the word "dumbass" or playing the "race card." It's tiresome,and indicates to me that you have little to offer beyond rhetoric on these issues. So you try to tell me off instead. You think that trick hasn't been tried over the years, Jimmie? And guess what, I'm still doing my homework and telling people about it. Ain't gonna stop because you don't like it. Go do some homework, put on your big-boy drawers, and let's have a real debate based on facts. Otherwise, you're wasting my time.

DonnaLadd2012-03-19T10:45:58-06:00

Jimmie - about your claims on NCIC - band width is not free. Second, police officer time isn't worth anything?

Pilgrim2012-03-19T11:30:44-06:00

Jimmie, your claim that President Obama has added more to our debt than all other presidents combined is completely incorrect. Anyone who looks at the figures can see that most of our debt came from Republican presidents. Together, the two Bushes and Reagan added about $9 trillion to the debt. By contrast, Obama has added less than $5 trillion. Also, keep in mind that on the day Obama took office, the deficit stood at $1.3 trillion. When George W. Bush took office, he inherited a $235-billion surplus. Still, he added more than $5 trillion to the debt, doubling it. In other words, it doesn't make you RACIST for thinking Obama is a horrible president because he has added more debt that all other presidents combined. It just makes you IGNORANT. These numbers aren't secret or difficult to find. Look them up before you make embarrassing mistakes in a public debate.

Brian C Johnson2012-03-19T14:31:24-06:00

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